Sri Lanka and France are in talks to build on operational cooperation to curb illegal migration.

This was discussed at length during a meeting between the Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka, Jean-François Pactet and Public Security Minister Tiran Alles on Wednesday (Feb. 01).

Assuring the support of France to boost the bilateral relations between the two nations, Pactet said France stands determined to disrupt the operations of traffickers.

Taking to Twitter, Pactet said the meeting helped identify new opportunities to broaden Sri Lanka-French partnership.

The meeting took place days after 38 Sri Lankans were repatriated by the authorities of the Réunion Island of France on January 25 after an illegal migration attempt via sea routes was foiled on January 14.

The smugglers, identified as residents of Kalpitiya and Kandy, are believed to have charged sums ranging from Rs. 400,000 to Rs. 1 million per person, Sri Lanka Navy reported.

Meanwhile, another group of illegal migrants, which comprised 46 Sri Lankans, were repatriated by French authorities on January 13 after an unsuccessful illegal migration attempt.

In another development, a court in northern France sentenced 14 Sri Lankan nationals to prison for operating a people-smuggling ring across Europe as part of a continent-wide attempt to crack down on the lucrative criminal networks.

According to UK government figures, more than 45,000 migrants have made the perilous crossing from mainland Europe to Britain in 2022, surpassing the previous year’s record by more than 17,000.

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